Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

Finally! Some success!

So, we finally had a game of Know Thyself that worked out really well. I’m in the middle of writing up an in-depth outline, prepping for the actual text. Here’s a short list of the changes:

  • One amnesiac
  • Multiple “chorus” players, all with an equal role.
  • Everyone has a hand to play from rather than random draws.
  • Memories happen over a build-up rather than right after every conflict. They happen when the amnesiac runs out of cards.
  • Conflicts don’t inherently end scenes; scenes are ended when the player calls for a new one or of that’s the stake of a conflict (and that’s what happens).
  • There’s only two types of memories: Drive & Pain. Drive has to do with why the Impulse is important. Pain has to do with why the amnesiac forgot everything.
  • There’s only two attachment items rather than four.
  • The premise of the game is definitely in the “this is a bad trip/fever dream/nightmare” mode.
  • There are two types of things the amnesiac can use a card on:
    • Conflicts — which are always called by the player — which is called against an NPC. Higher card wins.
    • Talents, which are things the player tries something against the environment & doing something against the human norm. Lower card wins.
  • The elements on the card: Location, Character, Tone, “Cost,” Talent Effect.
    • Amnesiac player pulls a random card from a chorus player’s hand when playing a new scene.
    • Chorus players play with Character by either playing the cards on themselves or other chorus players. In this way, all NPCs are card based, which keeps the random, chaotic feel going on while also keeping with my “creativity through constraints” ideal.
    • The winning card’s Tone determines the tone of the conflict’s outcome & an element that will intertwine the memory.
    • Cost is a (badly-named) currency that determines which Attachment & which memory will be narrated when the amnesiac runs out of cards.
    • Talent Effect: something we haven’t played much with yet.

This turned into pretty much what I’m looking at doing. I had to make some decisions on the game play, and while I cut out some potential play & focused the game quite a bit more, it turned into some really interesting play. I’ll be doing up the list of Locations, Characters & Tones later today (Wednesday), so that I can solicit some ideas about which terms feel strong and which feel weak.

I’ll get a couple more playtests in, but I’ll hope to finish up the draft on Sunday and only have to make some minor changes after that, since it’s close to the wire.


July 10, 2007 - Posted by | Know Thyself


  1. Can you say a little more about what sort of play resulted from this combo?

    Comment by misuba | July 11, 2007 | Reply

  2. Definitely. Typing this up last night was mainly about trying to remember all the points via typing repetition.

    The non-Amnesiac players (called the Chorus) all had roles to play and interacted together. Instead of people being pushed off to the side during play, everyone was flying around doing stuff, creating an odd situation for the amnesiac.

    That’s the main play difference. Also, the sense of not having to quit a scene and completely change play by having a conflict made things feel smoother & less stressful from a player point of view.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | July 11, 2007 | Reply

  3. I like the sound of this a lot. Figuring out who you are in relation to many active people as opposed to relative isolation sounds much more challenging and rewarding.

    Comment by misuba | July 11, 2007 | Reply

  4. Definitely, I find this to be a lot more compelling.

    Comment by commondialog | July 12, 2007 | Reply

  5. Chris: Even though it uses cards? 😉

    Mike: That’s exactly what happened. There was one thing that happened during play that I’m *very* shaky on — one of my players decided he wanted to play the amnesiac after the first memory was revealed, so character ownership was completely thrown out the window. I’m not sure how I like that, though ultimately I think I’m going to mention in the ashcan text as an option I’m exploring, with the caveats that it doesn’t feel right.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | July 13, 2007 | Reply

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